Collections Manager Dan Luscombe with delegates at Bedgebury National Pinetum.
On 10 May the South East Branch met in Kent to run its second conifer masterclass at the Bedgebury National Pinetum.
We knew it would be a popular event given the opportunity to learn from Dan Luscombe, the Collections Manager at Bedgebury National Pinetum, and Tony Kirkham, the Head of the Arboretum, Gardens and Horticultural Services at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. However, we didn’t expect to sell all available tickets in FOUR HOURS.
Keen to get started on the day, committee members running the event set up camp at the side of the road to make bacon sandwiches before gates into Bedgebury opened. We got some funny looks from passersby, but it was worth it.
The masterclass started with presentations by Dan and Tony on the history of the collection at Bedgebury as well as the distribution of conifers around the world and the principles of conifer identification. We then went on the first of two guided walks around the pinetum. Delegates had the opportunity to test their conifer identification skills with a little help from Dan and Tony, who were also more than happy to answer questions about anything from the suitability of trees to particular sites to the rarity of some plants.
In the afternoon delegates split into small groups to test their conifer identification skills. After a quick break for light refreshments delegates went for a second walk around a different part of the pinetum. Towards the end of the day we digressed and spoke about the benefit of mulching around trees and the use of an airspade to alleviate compaction.
Before departing everyone thanked Tony and Dan for their time. Like me, I’m sure they went home feeling they had learnt a lot about conifers, their identification and their use. By way of thanks, the South East Branch made a donation to the Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum on behalf of Dan and also to Perennial on behalf of Tony.
If you have any suggestions for an event, or want to get involved, please let us know by emailing the branch at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting Head Office.
This article was taken form Issue 186 Autumn 2019 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.